Thursday, January 2, 2014

Knott's Berry Farms

For those of that live in southern California we are extremely lucky to have Disney, Legoland, Sea World, The San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park all within close driving distance.  For visitors there are tons of places to visit.

Most of these places do not offer great dining options for the Gluten Free traveler.  Disney has done a really good job, you can see my post here on the blog.  Legoland is another place that offers a bunch of GF options and the staff always seems to be well trained, you can see my post here.  The San Diego Zoo and Animal have much to be desired when we were there last so pack your own food.

All of these years here we had never visited Knott's Berry Farms.  It is only a few miles past Disneyland if you are coming from San Diego and two turns off the highway and you are pulling into the parking lot.

If you search the Knott's website under dining it lists all of the dining options but there is no mention of GF options.  I looked under FAQ and nothing about dining or food allergies.  It does say that you cannot bring food into the park - I brought some homemade GF pizza, bars, pretzels, apples, pears and water and they did not say anything at the security check.

I looked elsewhere on the web for GF options at Knott's and found the Healthy Voyager joins forces with Knott's Berry Farm to launch new gluten free and vegan food options.  Well I liken this to when the NFCA promoted Domino's Pizza GF crust and it blew up in there face for celiacs and those with non-celiac gluten sensitivities.

My first stop was going to be information but it was packed so I came back later in the day.  I asked for a list of GF dining options.  The woman thought about it, started looking and looked and looked through every drawer in the office and then said she would be back.  I waited for 15 to 20 minutes and she came back with a four page print out of "Special Dietary Information 2013."  She said where there was an asterisk I could ask for a manager.

My first stop was at Wilderness Broiler - on their menu sign it says thagt GF and vegan options available.  My kids had hamburgers.  I asked what I could eat that was GF and the lady said "french fries, hot dogs and chicken tender, wait, not chicken tenders - their vegan." I guess they offer fake chicken tenders.  I asked further about the fryer and yes they cook the chicken tenders and french fries in the same fryer.  She then told me that "they have GF hot dog buns and they don't put the hotdogs or buns in the fryer."  Now it was getting comical.  They only have one set of tongs and one small grill top for the burgers and hotdogs and buns.  I passed.

One of the other mentions on the Healthy Voyager website was that you would be able to find GF funnel cake in the park - everywhere I checked the answer was no so I didn't even get to ask about separate GF funnel cake fryers.

By the time we got the list the kids had lunch and dinner - I ate my pizza, fruits and snacks.

So the *modified places were Ghost Town Grill which offers salads, sandwiches and soup.  Johnny Rockets was listed with a notation that said "substitutions with wheat bun available" yet it said wheat not wheat free.

The Cantina was listed as having bean burritos, vegetarian burritos, bean tacos, vegetarian tacos.  Panchos Tacos had bean and vegetarian tacos.  Both Cantina and Panchos had the asterisk, I didn't speak with a manager but they people up front didn't know if the corn taco/tortilla was safe to eat for those that are gluten free.

On the list I picked up it listed GF Pizza available at Ghost Town Grill, Grizzly Creek Lodge and Hollywood Hits - so that may be an option.

There were a few places for roasted corn on the cob - there is an option.  They also had smoked turkey legs that when we go to Disney are safe but I didn't look into the turkey.  On the handout it only lists the turkey leg but does not say if it is GF.

Their hand out lists that "*French Fries are also gluten free (we cannot guarantee that there has not been cross contamination with cooking practices)."  Now its one thing to cover your self because a kitchen prepares not gluten free options - that I get.  But to use a fryer for battered chicken and fries and try to offer them as GF is a no no as far as i'm concerned.  I didn't stop at every site so if there was one or two sites that only served french fries that would be a safer option and disclosure.

My overall take.  The park was fun and the roller coasters were great but bring your own food.  If I were the Healthy Voyager I would follow up on the safe eating practices that she promoted with her name and Knott's may do a better job in distinguishing what is safe for those with dietary restrictions.

The Un-Gluten Guy

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